Washington Square News

NYU vs. Columbia Is the Most Lukewarm Rivalry You Could Imagine

Viola Mai and Wendy Tang

By Shreya Biswal, Contributing Writer

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Not too long ago at Madison Square Garden, Dean of Admissions Shawn Abbott flaunted a blue crowned robe as he addressed the NYU Class of 2020. For much of the audience, this detail went unnoticed, their attention unapologetically occupied by his subtle humor about Columbia students hiding within their gated communities, too afraid to venture out. Nothing screams school spirit like collectively throwing shade at another college, with 6,000 freshmen cheering “N-Y-U!” in the background. Amongst all the laughter, however, arises the question of whether we really do consider Columbia to be our rival.

College rivalries can seem irrelevant and dated to some, but there’s no ignoring the fact that they do exist. Not all are as reputed as the Bay Area rivalries of UC Berkeley and Stanford or of USC and UCLA. So where do we stand, being in the heart of a city that can distract from the conventional goings-on of a college campus? Apart from being two of the most desirable colleges in New York City, there might not be much to bring to the table for NYU and Columbia in terms of a pertinent rivalry.

Fishing for details, you may be able to stir up conversation in the NYU vs. Columbia debate. For one, there is the age-old question of who has the better campus. To the students up north, we can positively say we are never bored.

“I personally miss the NYU area every time I go up to Columbia,” LS freshman Winnie Xu said.

Even though at some point every Violet has craved the tranquility of a campus with walls and grass that we may call our own, most of us have come to love the bustle of Greenwich Village.

In conversation with students at both NYU and Columbia, their feelings toward any animosity amongst them mostly goes in tandem. The roots of our opposition arise from factors such as proximity, academic caliber in the arts and business and their renowned law schools, and perhaps end at the point where we are reminded of the lack of athletic enthusiasm in both schools, though more so at NYU. Most responses to alleged animosity lead to a series of “it depends” ranging to “where did this come from?”

Columbia is more likely to consider other Ivy League schools as rivals. Simply speaking, there just isn’t enough conflict and competition in sports between the Violets and Lions to consider the two schools rivals. They do, however, compete in extracurricular clubs.

“I don’t think NYU and Columbia are rivals,” Arya Diwase, a CAS junior, said. I think they are sister schools. We share a lot of faculty and the city.”

Columbia sophomore Supriya Ganesh, for her part, said, “We have an inferiority complex about your campus.”

Ultimately, we share the ever-fascinating Manhattan and a similarly exorbitant price tag on it. At NYU, we don’t really have the time to care for intercollegiate rivalries; we’re a little too caught up prowling museums and vegan restaurants — we know Columbia students don’t have much of that up in Morningside Heights. It might be impossible for us to maintain a rivalry when drawing a comparison with our counterparts is a struggle in itself. After all, there’s no place quite like NYU.

Email Shreya Biswal at [email protected]

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